An early bird species called Sulcavis geeorum had a set of teeth evolved to support a special diet.
The unusual set of gnashers would have helped the species consume creatures with hard exoskeletons such as insects or crabs. Sulcavis geeorum is believed to have lived during the Early Cretaceous period between 121 million to 125 million years ago. It's discovery highlights ecological diversity that had been previously unrecognized by experts.
"While other birds were losing their teeth, enantiornithines were evolving new morphologies and dental specializations," said lead study author Jingmai O'Connor. "We still don't understand why enantiornithines were so successful in the Cretaceous but then died out - maybe differences in diet played a part."
"An early ancestor of today's birds had teeth -- and not just any teeth, but ones evolved for a special diet, US paleontologists say."
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